Veterans Entrepreneurship Program
The Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) provides a rigorous entrepreneurial learning and development opportunity for service disabled veterans and those who have uniquely distinguished themselves in the military. VEP is designed for veterans interested in starting a new venture as a means to financial independence and for veterans who have an existing business for which they would like to increase profits.
The VEP is comprised of three phases: a five-week self-study component, an intense eight-day training program at the University of Florida, and an eight-month mentorship period with online peer-to-peer networking. This three phase program offers an innovative and effective combination of focused, practical training in venture creation and growth, as well as a support structure for graduates of the program.
Phase I: Concept Development and Self Study
Over the initial five-week period, delegates will participate in a self-study curriculum developed for the VEP, facilitated by an online discussion and assessment module, which will be moderated by entrepreneurship faculty. This phase enables delegates to work on development of business concepts and prepare for Bootcamp at the University of Florida campus in May. Those with existing businesses will work on understanding and shaping relevant business issues.
Phase II: VEP Bootcamp
Like a military bootcamp, this eight-day residency in Gainesville, FL is intense, rigorous and demanding. It is an opportunity for hands-on learning and interaction with faculty, guest entrepreneurs, business experts and peer delegates. The bootcamp exposes VEP participants to the "nuts and bolts" of business ownership through experiential workshops and lessons from world-class faculty representing nationally ranked programs around the country.
Phase III: Mentoring and Venture Development
Delegates are provided with 8 months of ongoing mentorship from entrepreneurs and subject matter experts and online peer-to-peer networking. This phase of the VEP will enable delegates to get feedback specific to their ventures and offer extended hands-on learning that is critical to success.
|February 28, 2014||Application Deadline|
|March 1, 2014||Final Notification of Admission|
|March 24 - April 26, 2014||Phase I: Self Study and Business Concept/ Issues Development|
|May 3 - May 10, 2014||Phase II: VEP Entrepreneurs Bootcamp|
|May 19, 2014 - January 1, 2015||Phase III: Mentoring and Business Development Support, Online Peer to Peer Networking|
The VEP is free to veterans who are selected for the program. Instruction, materials, travel expenses, lodging and meals for the Phase II Bootcamp will be provided at no cost to each delegate. The costs of the VEP are underwritten by sponsors and private donors, with operations and program development provided by the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Florida.
VEP targets veterans who meet the following three requirements:
- Have separated from active duty service (or are currently in the administrative process of separating) with an honorable discharge
Identified as disabled by the Veteran's Administration or Department of Defense based on a “service connected” disability
- “Service distinguished” based on exemplary military conduct
- Identified as disabled by the Veteran's Administration or Department of Defense based on a “service connected” disability
- Demonstrate an intense interest in entrepreneurship and small business ownership/management